Two examples of great Web 2.0 by USA government

Who said "your TSA don't dance and your USPTO don't rock and roll?" (One free copy of BlogBridge for all of you who get the reference without using Wikipedia)

Here are two cool examples. First up, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) now has a blog that seems to be much more than a bunch of pre-digested PR drivel, but instead posts from actual people with actual knowledge about TSA and their mission.

From their blurb:
"This blog is sponsored by the Transportation Security Administration to facilitate an ongoing dialogue on innovations in security, technology and the checkpoint screening process." (from The Evolution of Security)

By the way, a plea: please name your blogs in a way that it doesn't take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out what it is. How about calling it the TSA Blog? Duh.

But it is quite interesting, for example, from a few days ago:
"Saturday morning, a Transportation Security Officer working the x-ray machine saw two razor blades in what appeared to be a book in someone's carry-on bag. During the bag check, the razor blades were found inside the pages of a Bible, and bag belonged to... a priest. Can't make this stuff up." (from Saturday Morning, Strange But True...")

This blog and the way it is being written is a Very Good Idea. I just hope that the politicians don't grab hold of it and turn it into another propaganda portal.

So that was the dance part, here's the rock and roll.

The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) has created a very cool site to allow peer input about patents that are being sought. From their blurb:

"Peer-to-Patent opens the patent examination process to public participation for the first time. Become part of this historic pilot program. Help the USPTO find the information relevant to assessing the claims of pending patent applications. Become a community reviewer and improve the quality of patents."

So this is kind of a social network to assist the patent office in filtering out bad patents more effectively, something that they have failed to do often and have been heavily criticized for.

The cool thing is that they seem to have thought this through quite well. Particularly the way peer input is used or not used as part of the patent review process seems to protect against competitors trying to somehow manipulate the process. And the site is attractive, sensible in its design, incorporates video and tutorials etc. A thoroughly modern effort. And a valuable service. Kudos!
Posted on February 28, 2008 and filed under Life, Politics, Technology.